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Other SportsThe Masters 2024: DeChambeau surges into lead, Willett shoots four-under

The Masters 2024: DeChambeau surges into lead, Willett shoots four-under

Bryson DeChambeau made a flying start on the opening day of the 88th Masters on Thursday, surging into an early lead after inclement weather delayed the start of play.

Fans were made to wait for the first major of 2024 to get under way as heavy rain and the threat of lightning saw play delayed by around two and a half hours.

When the action finally began at Augusta National, it was former U.S. Open champion DeChambeau who set the pace with a career-best seven-under 65 at the iconic Georgia course.

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DeChambeau – who has never finished higher than 21st at The Masters and has missed the cut in each of the last two years – started with three straight birdies, but it was a run of five birdies in six holes down the back nine which saw him soar to the top of the leaderboard.

Speaking to Sky Sports Golf after completing his first round, DeChambeau said: “Man, it was a great test of golf, the wind is picking up and it was a brutal challenge out there.

“I was luckily enough to get a couple of good breaks on the back nine and I was putting it in good places. I was trying to place it in the correct place on this golf course.

“Strategy out here sometimes goes unnoticed and people think you can bomb it. No. You have to place it and I did that today.”

Of the other early starters, 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett was closest to DeChambeau with a four-under 68, while Will Zalatoris and Scottie Scheffler were level with the Englishman with three and five holes remaining, respectively.

Willett, who was playing his first competitive round since undergoing shoulder surgery in September, said of his unexpectedly strong start: “I feel alright. I think I might take the next six months off!

“It’s completely unexpected. Sometimes that happens. You make a couple of birdies and your mind starts thinking, ‘alright, I can do it’.

“It was nice to keep chilled out, because it was playing tough, it probably really made us concentrate that little bit more.”

Rory McIlroy – who is looking to complete the career Grand Slam and end a 10-year major drought – stood at one-under through 13 holes, having got under way alongside Scheffler and Xander Schauffele.

Tiger Woods was among the late starters, but he didn’t need long to provide the Augusta crowd with a highlight as he got out of trouble at the second with a remarkable left-handed chip with the club head pointing towards him.

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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